North Carolina and Wake Forest announced a groundbreaking move on Monday, as the two schools agreed to play a non-conference home and home football series in 2019 and 2021.
— CBS Sports CFB (@CBSSportsCFB) January 26, 2015
But wait, both are in the ACC, so how can they be playing a non-conference game?
Well, this marks the first time in the history of the NCAA that two Power Five teams from the same conference have matched up in a game against one another, when the game did not impact the conference standings. This move can be heavily attributed to the vast amount of conference expansion across college sports, which does not always allow teams in the same conference to play one another, especially when they are in different divisions. Wake Forest is an Atlantic division team, while North Carolina is in the Coastal, and their infrequent games against one another year after year sparked this idea that may revolutionize the college game, especially with two teams in the same conference that may not face each other as often as they would like.
Additionally, the concept eliminates the non-conference games against lesser opponents in the pay-to-play system, where lesser schools from the FCS get paid to play against the Power Five as sort of a warm-up game for the FBS schools. With a fickle economy, and potential bowl games to budget for, more fans will make the trip to home games early in the season against a conference school that may not be on the schedule every season.
We’ll see how this decision plays out for other conferences across the country, but it is good to see the ACC making college football history with an unorthodox scheduling method.